A travel plan can bring a number of benefits to a new development for the developer, the local authority and the ultimate users of the site.
What are the benefits of a travel plan?
- Less congestion and therefore improved safety on local roads by promoting alternatives to the car
- Reduced highway capacity problems by promoting sustainable travel choices
- Local environmental improvements from reduced congestion, carbon emissions, pollution and noise
- Making the site more attractive to potential occupiers/users
- Increased opportunities for active healthy travel, such as walking and cycling
- Reduced demand for parking spaces enabling land to be put to more cost-effective or commercially beneficial use and freeing space for active travel initiatives
- Improved travel choice, quality and affordable access to services for all users
- Increased opportunities for employers to feed into corporate social responsibility or sustainability initiatives
Travel planning policy
The need to manage transport in new developments is included within national, regional and local policy. The need to reduce car dependency, increase travel choices and encourage sustainable travel is supported by the National Planning Policy Framework which states that all developments which generate significant amounts of movement should be required to provide a travel plan.
The National Planning Practice Guidance, published in March 2014, further reinforces the importance of travel plans in the planning context. It states travel plans should be considered in parallel to development proposals and readily integrated into the design and occupation of the new site, and that they should support Transport Assessments in taking forward the identified mitigation measures which relate to on-going occupation and operation of the development.
The London Plan (2011) and the Mayor's Transport Strategy (2010) also require the use of travel plans to help deliver sustainable development in London.
Assessing effects of development on transport capacity
The London Plan policy 6.3 states that:
- Transport assessments will be required in accordance with TfL's Transport Assessment Best Practice Guidance for major planning applications. Workplace and/or residential travel plans should be provided for planning applications exceeding the thresholds in, and produced in accordance with, the relevant TfL guidance.
- The Local Development Framework (LDF) provides the over-arching mechanism for securing travel plans at the local level. Securing travel plans will be most effective where the LDF includes explicit reference to travel plans. LDF documents should be clear and unambiguous about when travel plans will be required and the rationale for them. Policies should also indicate how travel plans are expected to contribute to achieving local objectives transport and otherwise, for example air quality.
At a local level, councils may also have their own travel planning policy and guidance. This can be found within the borough-specific planning documents, for example in sustainable transport Supplementary Planning Documents or the Local Plan. Where this is available, reference should be made to the council's travel planning guidance in the first instance.